Senjō Group, a global payments operator and FinTech investment firm, announced today its partnership and funding of Tjaara Pte. Ltd, a Singapore-based B2B service. Tjaara or “Marketplace” in Arabic, uses a group buy concept to aggregate demand from customers to present a large consolidated order to pre-qualified manufacturers.
Tjaara essentially acts as a global purchaser to numerous unaligned wholesalers and businesses in the market, and aids the process on their behalf; Tjaara negotiates, does quality control checks from factory to port and even acts as an escrow service to manage the complicated buying process between Chinese manufacturers and foreign companies.
Tjaara’s customers, or Channel Partners as they are known within the company, are businesses or individuals who want to monetize their relationships with end-users. These end-users are small to medium-sized wholesalers who previously could not obtain the lower prices unlocked by economies-of-scale due to their small order volumes. Current Channel Partners have mostly been unable to communicate in Mandarin, and thus found it challenging to negotiate effectively with Chinese manufacturers.
“Tjaara is a B2B service that offers product search, language translation support, ordering, logistics and finance management,” said Fred Then, Co-Founder of Tjaara. “We realized that a lot of smaller and medium-sized retailers were unable to navigate Mandarin-only manufacturer listings or access factory-direct prices. Tjaara was built to help our end-users unlock a larger variety of products and larger profit margins through economies-of-scale. Unlike typical agents, Tjaara is also able to assist with product evaluation by obtaining samples for end-users; this is possible because of our close relationship with manufacturers.”
Mr. Then goes on to explain, “It is known that Chinese wholesale e-commerce platforms like Alibaba offer lower prices for local purchases, and when non-Chinese IP addresses are detected, the price is typically inflated. This is why Tjaara will always get better pricing as all buying is done locally through our China operations. And by consolidating the orders of small wholesalers, we’ll get more bulk discounts.”
The platform is currently invite-only and only vetted Channel Partners can log in to use Tjaara services. Channel Partners can view translated listings or request for a search for products; every Partner is allocated 50 complimentary translation requests per month. A mobile app is also in the works to create even easier access.
“Tjaara is well-placed as a business to make it through less-than-ideal economic times, for instance when global demands are falling. More than ever, SMEs will need means of cost savings, and wouldn’t it be even better if these don’t impact product quality? It was in this that we saw great potential in Tjaara, and realised that they were aligned with our core business objective of addressing market inefficiencies,” commented Sam Evans, Vice President of Business Development and Head of Ventures, Senjō Group.
Senjō Group is comprised of five business units: Senjō Payments, Senjō Commerce, Senjō Ventures, Senjō Trading, and Senjō Finance; Senjō Ventures has committed US$1.2 million to the start-up, and extended an additional US$20 million in trade finance.
“We are extremely excited by the generous support offered by Senjō, and their faith in us,” said Mr. Then. “The biggest plus of working with an experienced partner like Senjō is definitely their expertise in payment systems and existing global footprint and connections. This will make our lives a lot easier. We are looking forward to scaling to greater heights with their support.”
Tjaara has been secretly researched for almost 2 years and was recently incorporated in August 2016. The soft launch will happen sometime in Q1 2017, and it plans to launch fully in Q3 2017. The business will initially focus on the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and North Africa.